SBU Head: “Members of Wagner PMC terrorist syndicate have no citizenship. The only thing that unites them is willingness to kill - anyone, in any part of the world, on Kremlin’s instructions and financing. No Russian fake can any longer hide this truth.”
A few minutes ago, on the Internet, there surfaced ‘a journalistic investigation on the Ukrainian PMC in Syria’. The SBU was aware about its preparation from own sources already from the end of January this year.
After a series of revealing briefings of the Security Service of Ukraine about the secret activities and crimes of Wagner PMC, the special unit of the Main Directorate of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, in Ukraine, Syria, Sudan and Central African Republic, including about the involvement of mercenaries in the murder of Russian journalists O. Jemal, K. Radchenko and O. Rastorguev, the leadership of Russian secret services has urgently tried to fabricate an ‘adequate response’. For this purpose, the Federal News Agency (FNA), controlled by Ye. Pryhozhyn, was tasked by Russian secret services to prepare a fake investigation about Ukrainian presence in Syria.
The first attempt was made with the help of FAN’s affiliate, so-called “ANNA-News” News Agency” in early February 2019, and was a failure. Staged photographs of trainings in Syria of local militants, allegedly involving the fighters of non-existant Ukrainian PMC ‘Vega’, who were enacted by mercs of Russia’s Wagner PMC, failed to get to mainstream news.
Subsequently, several information hubs outside Russia received a proposal from FAN representatives - to conduct, for monetary reward but on the basis of FAN-provided materials, ‘independent journalistic investigation’ concerning the mythical Ukrainian PMC “Vega” activity in Syria.
Taking into account the above, the Security Service of Ukraine publishes additional information revealing the role of the Main Directorate of Russia’s General Staff in spreading the fake about existence of the Ukrainian PMC “Vega”. We understand that this information is inconvenient for the authors of ‘journalistic material’, since it largely refutes the ‘investigation’ they have published.
First, the activity of private military companies is outside of the legislation of Ukraine. VEGA STRATEGIC SERVICES LLC was, indeed, registered in Mykolaiv in 2011, by a citizen of Ukraine Smolin A.A., but has nothing to do with ‘private military companies’. This LLC’s scope of activity is related to the work of private security firms and related services.
In 2013, the company stopped its operations in Ukraine, after Smolin's departure to Russia. At the same time, information available to the SBU suggests that in early 2014, its Moscow branch, headed by a citizen of Ukraine, Gynikashvili D.V. was actively used by representatives of Russian secret services as a structure for recruiting Russian mercenaries to take part in hostilities in Ukraine.
Secondly, Dmitriy Volodymyrovych Gynikashvili, DOB 17.07.1987, is well known to the Security Service of Ukraine already since 2011, as the head of the pro-Russian NGO “227. Not a Step Backwards”. In September 2013, Gynikashvili left for Moscow, where he joined the so-called “Slavic Corps” and personally took part in hostilities on the territory of Syria, along with Russian citizens Utkin D.V., Kaminin V.A., Kamynin V.V. and others. At the end of 2014, he was sent to Donbas as a member of Wagner PMC, the special unit of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, and in 2016-2017 - to the Syria (as a hygiene instructor of 1st reconnaissance and assault detachment of 1st reconnaissance and assault troop of Wagner PMC). From 2017, Gynikashvili holds the post of instructor in another unofficial structure of Russian Military Intelligence, the so-called ‘Volk’ International Centre for Combat and Special Training (Rostov-on-Don). The said Centre is actively used by the General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces for recruiting agents on the territory of European countries under the cover of holding special meetings for foreign paramilitary structures, SBU says. The activities of the Centre and the instructor Gynikashvili were described in detail by the Ukrainian volunteer community “Ikhatemnet_M0209” in March this year. Throughout 2017-2018, other mercenaries of Wagner PMC from among the Russian citizens, residents of the Rostov region, were involved in work with the said Centre of Russian military intelligence together with Gynicashvili:
- Gusev Eugeniy Fedorovich, DOB 05.10.1987
- Tropin Evgeniy Anatolyevich, DOB 03.03.1981
- Frank Olexandr Oleksandrovych, DOB 03.07.1985
The Security Service of Ukraine has already prepared relevant information on the activities of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces under the cover of “Volk” International Centre for Combat and Special Training for the partner intelligence services of European countries. Thirdly, we announce that citizen of Ukraine Smolin Anatoliy Anatolyevich, DOB 29.08.1964, after graduating in 1988 from the St. Petersburg Frunze High Naval School, was joined the Soviet KGB (Border Troops). From 1993 to 1997, he served in the structures of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, but was dismissed under discrediting circumstances (loss of firearms). He worked in various security-related commercial structures in Mykolaiv city, including organisation of training courses for employees of private security services. In 2012, he sold his real estate and moved to Russia together with his family. The key reason for leaving is Smolin’s evasion from repayment of significant cash debts. Since then, Smolin has no financial or economic activity on the territory of Ukraine. Throughout 2014, he tried to resume his Mykolaiv-based contacts via email, offering acquaintances “employment in a Russian private military company”. To this end, he was sending questionnaires, where a significant number of questions focused on the attitude of the respondents to the annexation of the Crimean Autonomy and willingness to engage in hostilities in the Donbas as part of the Russian illegal armed formations. According to SBU information, from 2016 Smolin uses Russian private security agencies under his control for the recruitment of mercenaries to the special-purpose unit of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces “Wagner PMC”. Accordingly, fed by FSB to the media fake information about the functioning of the Ukrainian private company “Vega” in Syria is untrue. Specified in the media material citizens Smolin A.А. and Gynikashvili D.V. left Ukraine before 2014 and have for a long time been actively cooperating with Russian military intelligence. As SBU Head Vasyl Hrytsak noted: “Members of the terrorist syndicate of Russian special services called Wagner PMC have no citizenship. Over the past few years, the SBU has shed light on hundreds of mercenaries of this unofficial unit of General Staff of Russia’s Armed Forces, which includes natives Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Serbia and other countries. The only thing that unites them is willingness to kill - anyone, in any part of the world, on Kremlin’s instructions and financing. And no Russian fake can any longer hide this truth from the global community.”
SBU Press Centre
For the Attention of the SBU Head